Health Care

1 in 10 Kansas mothers smoked while pregnant last year, report says

One in 10 Kansas mothers smoked while pregnant last year, a state health department birth report said.
One in 10 Kansas mothers smoked while pregnant last year, a state health department birth report said. File photo

Of the more than 35,000 babies born to Kansas women last year, 1 in 10 of the mothers said they smoked while pregnant, a new state report said.

And even though the number who smoked while pregnant decreased from 2016, the state is still far from meeting national health goals.

The statistics were released this week in a preliminary birth report for 2017 from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Of the 36,483 reported births to Kansas mothers last year, there were 3,685 where the mother admitted to smoking cigarettes while pregnant. That 10.1 percent of births where cigarette status was know was down a tenth of a percent from the previous year, or just under 200 births.

That's still more than seven times the goal of 1.4 percent in Healthy People 2020, a national initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Smoking while pregnant has been linked to premature birth, low birth weight and various disorders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states.

Premature births increased from 9.1 percent — or 3,457 births — in 2016 to 9.6 percent last year — or 3,492 births. There were an additional 9,350 early-term births last year. Just under two-thirds of babies born last year were full term.

There was an increase in low birth weight infants, from 7.1 percent of births in 2016 to 7.4 percent last year, or 2,701 babies.

There were fewer out-of-wedlock births and babies born to teen mothers last year. Just over a third of births — or 13,001 — were to unmarried mothers. There were 2,054 babies born to girls and women between 15 and 19 years old.

There were 13 babies born to girls between 10 and 14 years old. An additional 44 babies were born to women aged 45 and older.

More babies were born to women 25 to 29 years old than any other age group, with 11,503. Next highest was the 30 to 34 age group with 10,000.

The state birth rate of 12.5 per 1,000 people was the lowest since Kansas created a centralized Vital Records system in 1911. The lower birth rate is part of a decade-long slide.

Geary County had the highest birth rate at 26.2 births per 1,000 people while Chase County had the lowest at 7.1.

Nearly 1 out of every 5 babies born — or 6,910 — had a Sedgwick County mother. Only Johnson County had more births, at 7,216. Over half of the state's new babies were born in seven counties: Douglas, Geary, Johnson, Leavenworth, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte.

A state report released earlier this month said there were 6,782 abortions performed in the state last year — the fewest in 30 years.

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